Arch Linux How to Install XFCE and X Windows
If you are using Arch to power a desktop system you will probably want to run a nice, relatively lightweight desktop environment like XFCE. On Arch you will have to install XFCE yourself.
Short answer: If you want to run install XFCE on Arch Linux and you already have X Windows installed, just run the following. The first command updates the system and database. The second command installs XFCE.
sudo pacman -Syyu sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies
This is all you need to do to get it installed but there is more you should know and more you should probably do. If you haven’t yet installed X Windows, you will definitely need more information. Keep reading for all of the details.
Install X Windows
It isn’t hard to install Xorg on Arch Linux. You can install Xorg with this one command ( 3 packages ):
sudo pacman -S xorg xorg-xinit xterm
Here is an explanation of some of the packages you might see people recommending.
|xorg||includes xorg-server but not xorg-xinit|
|xorg-server-utils||doesn’t exist anymore|
|xorg-xinit||installs: xorg-xinit, inetutils, includes /etc/X11/xinit/xinitrc|
|xorg-apps||group, everything in it is already included in xorg|
|xterm||You will probably want/need this|
If you are running on VirtualBox you will want to install guest utils. If you are on a physical machine, don’t install this.
pacman -S virtualbox-guest-utlis
Install some extras that you should have. Xterm is important. Xeyes and xclock aren’t quite so important.
pacman -S xorg-xeyes xorg-xclock xterm
You may end up needing video drivers. Install the corresponding package for your hardware. You might also be completely fine without them.
sudo pacman -S nvidia nvidia-utils # NVIDIA sudo pacman -S xf86-video-amdgpu mesa # AMD sudo pacman -S xf86-video-intel mesa # Intel
You don’t need this but you might want to install ALSA. You can test it with the alsomixer and speaker-test command.
pacman -S alsa-utils alsamixer speaker-test -c2
Install XFCE and some extra packages that are nice to have. You can leave out the xfce4-goodies package if you don’t want extras installed like the text editor for example.
sudo pacman -S xfce4 xfce4-goodies
During the installation you will be prompted to select different options. You can just press enter to select the defaults unless you have a preference. Press ‘y’ to confirm.
You can configure XFCE to start when X windows starts (Xinit) or use a display manager (LightDM or LXDM). We’re going to cover both of these methods here.
Starting with Xinit ( startx )
This will configure XFCE to run anytime you start X Windows. If you choose this option, you will generally start X Windows manually by typing startx.
Edit this file:
Uncomment this line:
Add execute permissions:
chmod +x .xinitrc
Start X Windows:
If it was already running, kill it and start again.
Starting with LXDM
Installing LXDM is optional if you just want to start X manually or already have a DM. You won’t already have one if you just installed X windows. A display manager will allow you to login and select a graphical environment to launch. I actually prefer LightDM over LXDM. See the next section for more on this.
sudo pacman -S lxdm sudo systemctl enable lxdm
Starting with LightDM
This is another display manager. I like it because I am more familiar with it.
sudo pacman -S lightdm lightdm-gtk-greeter sudo systemctl enable lightdm
Reboot your system:
Once the system boots, select “Xfce Session” from your display manager and then login as usual.